Based on one of John Updike's best novels and one of my favorite films of the mid 80's, THE WITCHES OF EASTWICK conjures up some seriously dark laughs and star power.
In the small, picture-perfect New England town of Eastwick, all is refined, quiet and stately on the surface.
Grade school music teacher Jane (Susan Sarandon) is divorced, reserved and devoted to her cello. Local sculpture artist Alexandra (Cher) is divorced, starving for adventure and bored. Their friend Sukie (Michelle Pfieffer) is raising five daughters after her husband left her, reporting at the local paper and juggling life.
When the three women get together one evening and wish for the perfect mysterious man to come into their lives, coincidence or magic delivers Daryl Van Horne to Eastwick.
Jack Nicholson is at his mid eighties peak as Daryl, oozing humor, danger and sarcasm with every breath.
One by one, he seduces our female trio with a combination of frank sexuality, incredible charm, humor and lust.
Cher is excellent, providing the audience's voice of reason to the ever escalating supernatural elements of the story. Sarandon is terrific. Her transformation from stifled music teacher to tiger jump-suited sex kitten is hilarious, but Sarandon never lets Jane become a cartoon character. Pfieffer's Sukie is the most sensitive of the bunch and she goes toe to toe with Nicholson with ease.
Nicholson is as good as it gets. If you need someone to play a Lothario/devil/live-for-today lecherous bastard, he's the man. Whether he is spewing a profanity laden tirade against the almighty in a church or quietly trying to seduce Alexandra in his mansion's bedroom, Nicholson's Van Horne makes it impossible to look away.
Victoria Cartwright (Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Aliens) is also great as Felicia, the prim and proper unspoken social ruler of Eastwick who finds her moral comeuppance at the hands of our female trio and Van Horne's storm of power.
Director George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road, The Road Warrior) delivers his usual terrific visual style to the film. Some of the 1987 special effects barely hold up by today's standards, but they're balanced by one of John Williams (Jaws, Star Wars) best music scores.
A near perfect blend of humor, the supernatural, social satire and light horror, WITCHES still casts a great spell and gets an A. It's a guilty pleasure that I revisit again and again.